Imphal: The North East Regional Sports Week kicked off at the main stadium of Khuman Lampak Sports Complex in Imphal on Thursday in connection with the celebration of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.

The Regional Sports Week is organised by Youth Affairs and Sports Department, Government of Manipur, and is funded by North Eastern Council (NEC).

During the Sports Week, which will continue from April 28 to May 3, athletes from seven northeast states including Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura and the host state Manipur will compete in select disciplines of archery, badminton, boxing, football and table-tennis.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister N Biren Singh welcomed all the participating teams and termed the hosting of seven northeast states in the sports week as a proud moment for Manipur. He said the sports week would celebrate the sporting spirit across all the northeastern states and would also “showcase the sportsmanship of our talented players”.

Appreciating the dedication of the players of Manipur, CM Biren Singh said the state had always stood tall in the field of games and sports. He said the state had so far produced 19 Olympians, 20 Arjuna Awardees, three Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award winners, one Dronacharya Awardee, one Dhyan Chand Awardee, six Padma Shris, one Padma Bhushan and one Padma Vibhushan. He continued that the state had also produced medallists in the Olympic Games, including two at the recently held Tokyo Olympics, 26 medallists in Asian Games and 30 medallists in the Commonwealth Games.

He also informed the gathering that the state government had started the construction of ‘Manipur Olympian Park’ where the statues of all the Olympians of Manipur would be installed as an encouragement to upcoming players of the state. 

The park would stand as a testimony to Manipur as the ‘powerhouse of sports’, Singh added.

He further informed that the state government had recently signed an MoU with Samsung Data System India Pvt. Ltd. for the installation of the ‘Digital Experience Centre’ at the Olympian Park and Khuman Lampak Sports Complex. The Digital Experience Centre would create more awareness about sports among the public, about the achievements of the Olympians and would also help improve the performance of sportspersons in an innovative manner.

Singh also expressed hope that the event would create a connection among the participating players and assured that the government would provide all possible help for the smooth conduct of the sports week.

The opening ceremony witnessed CM N Biren Singh taking salute of the marching contingents of players of the seven northeast states.

Ministers Letpao Haokip, Dr Sapam Ranjan, L Susindro Meitei, Heikham Dingo, MLA for Wangkhei AC Thangjam Arunkumar, Commissioner, YAS Bobby Waikhom, Special Secretary, YAS Namoijam Kheda Varta, Director, YAS T Phullen Meitei, sportspersons, coaches and other officials attended the opening ceremony among others.

Also read | Efforts on to remove AFSPA completely from northeast: PM Modi

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